RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has said he has whittled down his Selecao to 25 names for the 23-strong squad needed for the World Cup finals hosting next June.

Scolari, appointed in place of Menos Menezes a year ago, has until May 7 to come to a conclusion which will also need to take into account injuries and sudden loss of form.

Initially Scolari had 45 players in mind, including troubled and oft-injured veterans Kaka and Ronaldinho.

He said: “I have 105pc confidence about what is ahead because my ‘list’ now has more than 23 players. The other day it was 20 and now it’s up to 25. There are even more options out there, it’s not easy.”

One of the core players, he indicated, would be Júlio César even though the Confederations Cup-winning goalkeeper has not played this season for Queens Park Rangers in the English second division [Championship].

QPR have indicated that Julio Cesar can go during the January transfer window and Scolari said: “I don’t let other people make my decisions for me. The choice is mine.”

A crucial opportunity for the fringe players could be Brazil’s friendly against South Africa in Johannesburg on March 5.

Brazil’s challenge in the group stage of the World Cup will be unveiled at the end of next week at the World Cup draw in Costa do Sauipe, Salvador.